ALBANY — Governor Andrew M. Cuomo has announced more than 14,000 tickets were issued during this year's "Operation Work Brake," a yearly campaign conducted in partnership between the State Police and the New York State Thruway Authority to raise awareness of the dangers of reckless driving in work zones at the start of highway construction season.
This year's enforcement efforts, which took place from April 22-26, were expanded to include NYS Department of Transportation work zones around the state.
"In the wake of the loss of one of our own DOT workers earlier this year, we will continue to double down on our efforts to educate motorists about work zone safety and its importance in protecting workers, drivers and passengers," Governor Cuomo said. "Our message is clear—those who jeopardize the safety of others on our highways will be held accountable, and State Troopers will continue to aggressively patrol in and around our work zones to help prevent a tragedy like this from happening again."
Acting State Police Superintendent Keith M. Corlett said, "Highways and work zones are challenging and treacherous environments to work in, and we all have a responsibility to do our part to make them safer for those who work in and around them. Troopers are creating safer work zones by collaborating efforts with our partners at the Thruway Authority and DOT. However, we need motorists to do their part by slowing down, keeping their eyes on the road, moving over and keeping a safe distance when they see an emergency or maintenance crew on the shoulder of a road. We have zero tolerance for speeding and distracted driving in these zones and we will continue to ticket those who violate the law."
New York State Department of Transportation Chief of Staff Todd Westhuis said, "Highway workers and emergency responders put their lives on the line every day to keep our roadways safe and one of their biggest challenges is motorists not moving over to give them room. Thanks to our partners at the New York State Police and the State Thruway Authority for calling attention to a serious safety issue that is critical to everyone who travels our highways. Please slow down and stay alert in work zones so that all of us can get home at the end of the day."
According to the Federal Highway Administration, more than 799 fatalities occurred in work zones across the country in 2017. One hundred and thirty-two of those fatalities included workers, with three of those fatalities occurring in New York work zones. In March of this year, a NYS Department of Transportation worker was struck and killed by a tractor-trailer in a work zone on Route 17 in Tioga County.